Genesis, Structure, and Meaning in Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End

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University of Nevada Press, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 316 pages
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When Gary Snyder?s long poem Mountains and Rivers Without End was published in 1996, it was hailed as a masterpiece of American poetry, yet it has not hitherto been the subject of a book-length critical study. Now, Anthony Hunt offers a detailed historical and explicative analysis of this complex work using, among his many sources, Snyder?s personal papers, letters, and interviews.Hunt traces the work?s origins and genesis, as well as some of the myriad sources of its themes and structure, including No drama; East Asian landscape painting; the rhythms of storytelling, chant, and song; Jungian archetypal psychology; world mythology; Buddhist philosophy and ritual; Native American traditions; planetary geology, hydrology, and ecology. His analysis addresses the poem not merely by its content but through the structure of individual lines and the arrangement of the parts, examining such personal and cultural influences on Snyder?s work as his extensive travels in Asia, his association with the Beat movement of the 1950s, and his observations of the natural world, as well as the role of various mythological, religious, ecological, and political concepts and images.Hunt?s benchmark study of Mountains and Rivers Without End, which he considers a ?fundamental wisdom text for the modern ecological movement,? is a richly perceptive work of analysis, written in a clear and straightforward style but completely sensitive to the subtleties, nuances, and intricacies of the poem. It will be rewarding reading for anyone who enjoys the contemplation of Snyder?s artistry and ideas and, more generally, for those who are intrigued by the workings of artistic composition, as well as those readers of poetry?whether ecologists, Buddhists, philosophers, or backpackers?who are interested in cultural and intellectual affairs.

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Composing the Space
Inhabiting the Landscape
Traveling On

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About the author (2004)

A recently retired professor of English, Anthony Hunt taught courses in modern and American literature at the University of Puerto Rico at MayagŁez for thirty years. Well-known and well-published as a scholar of Gary Snyders work, Hunt has focused his academic research on Snyders monumental long poem, Mountains and Rivers Without End, for more than two decades.

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